The Wilsons has been busy gearing up for the Summer holidays! We have a lot of new benches and umbrellas (for those hot summer days to come) and the back field has been mowed, the Lamb pens are built and we have also built a couple of Pig Arks, for Annie and her piglets.
Annie is a Saddleback pig. The saddlebacks which came about when Lord Western was travelling in Italy and decided that the Neapolitan pigs would be ideal to improve the breed of Essex pigs. He crossed the Neapolitan with the Essex Sows to create the Neapolitan-Essex. Overtime one of his tenants, used the Neapolitan-Essex boars, belonging to Lord Western, and crossed them with his coarse Essex sows and therefore established the Improved Essex. The Essex pig originally had a black head and neck, as well as a clearly defined belt of white over the shoulders and continuing over the forelegs. The rest of the body was black with the tip of the tail and feet being white.
The Essex pig was then crossed with the Wessex (a cross between two indigenous old English bacon pigs which was black all over, with a continuous belt of white hair over the forelegs and shoulder), to “make a feature of the chief colouration marking?…”. So the respective breed societies amalgamated in 1918, in 1967 the British Saddleback breed was established.
British Saddlebacks are hardy breed and are noted for their mothering ability. The breed is known for its grazing ability and has secured a place in organic production.